Rethinking National Security



Martin Hellman, Stanford University

Date and Time

February 5, 2018 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


William J. Perry Conference Room
Encina Hall, Second Floor, Central, C231
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305

Abstract: In 1945, our homeland was inviolate. Since then, we have invested trillions of dollars to improve our national security, yet we now can be destroyed in under an hour. In mathematics, such an absurd result from otherwise logical reasoning proves that at least one assumption must be in error. This talk therefore examines a number of assumptions that form the foundation of our thinking about national security, starting with the very concept itself: In the nuclear age, is national security separable from global security?

Speaker bio: Martin Hellman is best known for his invention, joint with Whitfield Diffie and Ralph Merkle, of public key cryptography, the technology that enables secure Internet transactions. He has been a key player in the computer privacy debate, won three “outstanding professor” awards from minority student organizations, and pioneered a risk-informed framework for nuclear deterrence. His current work “Rethinking National Security” critically examines the assumptions that form the foundation of our national security. Hellman’s many honors include election to the National Academy of Engineering and receiving (jointly with Diffie) the million dollar ACM Turing Award, the top prize in computer science.


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